Lacey's Paper Round

Welcome to Lacey's Paper Round - the column that reads the papers so you don't have to.

No, seriously, we wouldn't deny you the joys of your daily paper. But busy people don't always get a chance to read all the things they should so ZDNet is passing on the benefit of our press monitoring. We have to read everything about IT. It's our job.

In this column we'll pick out the best of the IT scene coverage that we find in print. If you see something you think is good, bad, mad, or just plain daft, email and we'll include it in next week's Paper Round.

Spam costs UK firms over £5 billion a year - Independent

The Independent says "spam costs business in Britain and Ireland £5.3bn a year". Quoting a Novell survey, it found 15% of respondents spent up to an hour a day dealing with spam.

The Independent, Network+ Supplement, May 26, 1998.

Venture capital hard to find for hi-tech firms - The Independent

The Independent's Chris Gulker says the Internet server software start-up, Zeus Technology from Cambridge, illustrates the difficulties UK start-ups face in securing venture capital. "In California, their biggest problems would be dodging the venture capitalists' BMWs in the parking lot. But in Britain's leading-edge, hi-tech heart, a bank turned Zeus down for a £5000 loan even though it had a signed purchase order form many times that amount from a very large computer company."

The Independent, Network+ Supplement, May 26, 1998.

IT driving corporate mergers through cutting costs - Evening Standard, Business Day

The Evening Standard's Joanne Hart reports on how IT is driving mergers in the financial sector where "banks and insurance companies have already been energetically pruning administrative staff and replacing them with computers"... "When they merge, the potential to exploit technology and slash costs is even greater."

Evening Standard, Business Day, May 27, 1998.

e-commerce is for companies with "deep pockets" - Financial Times

The FT quotes a Forrester Research report that says "over the next three years, smart (online) retailers will forego current profits and increase spending on promotion, technology, partnerships and staffing"... e-commerce is for firms with "deep pockets and patient investors".

Financial Times, May 27, 1998.

Demi Moore's Law is the new mantra for computer folk - Financial Times

The FT urged its readers to consider a new rule for progress in technology last week. "I propose a second mantra: information technology's value to the user progresses at about half the speed predicted by Moore's Law. I suggest we name this Demi Moore's Law," wrote Bhaskar Chakravorti.

Financial Times, May 28, 1998.

Council official "got trapped in porn Web site" - The Times

According to The Times a senior council official told an industrial tribunal last week: "I was in a sport site which was linked to a sexually explicit site. I tried to find a link back to sport but I became trapped in the site and had to switch the PC off."

The Times, May 28, 1998

Software to prevent your food arriving late in restaurants - Financial Times

The FT reported on a new restaurant management software product from Bank Solutions which is intended to make ordering, getting your food, and paying up, a lost less painful in restaurants. "A flashing light signals when a customer has waited too long between courses," wrote Nicholas Lander.

Financial Times, May 29, 1998.

Nerds elbow out the city's red braces brigade - The Guardian

The nerds are taking over in the city according to the Guardian. "The brawny, bawling traders on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE), who for more than a decade have symbolised the turbulence, the drama and the sheer excess of financial markets, are having to bow the knee to the nerds. Technology is about to take over." Jill Treanor.

The Guardian, May 30, 1998.

The strange anomalies of Microsoft's spell checker - The Guardian

Who gets the Microsoft spell check squiggle, and who does not, defies logic reports Matthew Engle in Saturday's Guardian. "Blair and even Hague are OK; Ashdown isn't. Paisley is in; Trimble isn't. Kate Moss, yes; Claudia Schiffer no. Sainsbury's is out, but at least Tesco keeps it company."

The Guardian, May 30, 1998.

"When does anybody step back and think about the fairness of all this" - Bill Gates in Fortune

In an exclusive interview with Bill Gates in the latest issue of Fortune magazine, the Microsoft boss questions the fairness of recent events. "Scott McNealy gets up and says Microsoft is like Russia and Sun's like the United States, and we're just bad, bad people. You'd think that after Scott comes out with that somebody would say to him 'come on Scott, this is way, way overboard.'"

Fortune, June 8, 1998.